I play a paladin in an online 3.5 campaign. And I have run into a unique problem.
I am the flame of Ilmater, and lead the disenfranchised and suffering into the light. Conceptually amazing, hailed as a savior by other players and the DM team alike.
But I have encountered what I like to call alignment entropy. Allow me to explain:
A paladin can, through deed and word alike, commit evil like any other man. Indeed, in some situations, they are required to partake in evil actions to save lives, or to eliminate threats. Such as executing someone who can't fight back, as the law demands. With-holding mercy when you believe someone is beyond redemption. The ideal of a perfectly good paladin in these situations would be ineffective, but pragmatism is a necessity for an official. In some situations, these points might arise just from working alongside individuals of evil intent, even when they commit no outright evil in the paladin's presence.
These small actions, not enough to fall on their own, eventually chip away at the armor of the individual. They gently erode their purity, brick by brick, in the light of duty. A single evil point here, or a single evil point there, eventually add up.
There is a concept familiar to Buddhism. Nirvana can only be achieved by freeing oneself from suffering. In order to free oneself from suffering, they must forsake all desire. But one forsakes all suffering in order to achieve nirvana, which is in itself a desire. Thus, Nirvana cannot be attained save for the divine who can effectively break the rules. This concept is representative of the lesson that it is not about the destination, it is about the journey.
But a paladin is judged more harshly for what constitutes a good action. Within the morality of 3.5, we are posed the following:
"Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others."
A paladin, by their very nature, benefits from everything they do in a very tangible way. Because of their direct benefit, their actions can no longer be truly altruistic. Even when that is the sole intent.
Therefore, it stands to reason that the alignment of a paladin can only move in one direction.
That, inevitably, all paladins will fall unless they completely restrain themselves from all evil action, no matter the circumstance. The issue persists, even in a fallen paladin, as any altruistic action would have the continued motive of redemption for their power and god's favor. By becoming a paladin, one sacrifices their ability to do good.
But, if in abstaining from evil for the selfish desire to maintain one's purity for power, evil is allowed to flourish - is that individual not evil? Was Aristotle wrong, when he said that one who does not punish evil commands it to be done?
It is only a matter of time until the paladin falls, pursuing her current course. Is it the destiny of the paladin to burn brightly, smiting evil without thought to consequence, tolerating no injustice, and generally being a step removed from a villain of the real world?
Is there another philosophy that would prevent this unrelenting alignment entropy?
Or should it be accepted, and the long path from hero to villain be followed?
To die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain.
Maybe I'm too drunk to properly understand this whole argument, but these two posts just seemed incredibly deep. 2 deep 4 me almost.
I think I'm going to start drinking more before I over think this seed you just planted in my brain.
Lemme quote Papa Gary here.
>An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is by no means anything but Lawful and Good. Prisoners guilty of murder or similar capital crimes can be executed without violating any precept of the alignment. Hanging is likely the usual method of such execution, although it might be beheading, strangulation, etc. A paladin is likely a figure that would be considered a fair judge of criminal conduct.
>The Anglo-Saxon punishment for rape and/or murder of a woman was as follows: tearing off of the scalp, cutting off of the ears and nose, blinding, chopping off of the feet and hands, and leaving the criminal beside the road for all bypassers to see. I don't know if they cauterized the limb stumps or not before doing that. It was said that a woman and child could walk the length and breadth of England without fear of molestation then...
>Chivington might have been quoted as saying "nits make lice," but he is certainly not the first one to make such an observation as it is an observable fact. If you have read the account of wooden Leg, a warrior of the Cheyenne tribe that fought against Custer et al., he dispassionately noted killing an enemy squaw for the reason in question.
>I am not going to waste my time and yours debating ethics and philosophy. I will state unequivocally that in the alignment system as presented in OAD&D, an eye for an eye is lawful and just, Lawful Good, as misconduct is to be punished under just laws.
>Lawful Neutrality countenances malign laws. Lawful Good does not.
>Mercy is to be displayed for the lawbreaker that does so by accident. Benevolence is for the harmless. Pacifism in the fantasy milieu is for those who would be slaves. They have no place in determining general alignment, albeit justice tempered by mercy is a NG manifestation, whilst well-considered benevolence is generally a mark of Good
I was under the impression you were occasionally philosophical, /tg/.
Not all rollplay and no roleplay, are you?
The argument then, is that a criminal can be executed for being a criminal, as a criminal, with no involvement of alignment (save in the case of unreasonable laws, exceptionally heinous criminals, or something else outstanding.)
So it addresses, perhaps, slights in how fast the paladin in question has fallen. But it doesn't address the core principle that a good action is the result of Altruism, unless we are to infer the implication that the defeat of evil is in, itself, an act of godliness that would bolster the paladin.
>Indeed, in some situations, they are required to partake in evil actions to save lives, or to eliminate threats. Such as executing someone who can't fight back, as the law demands.
That's not evil. If you manage to temporarily disrupt the BBEG's "Become a god" ritual and he's on his knees and you have just the one moment before he recovers and completes it, is it evil to strike him down in that moment of opportunity? Are you saying that you have to wait for him to raise his defenses again for it to not be evil?
Because people like you perpetuate the "Good is nice and dumb" stereotype.
I think the issue is you're running with 3e/3.5e/PFs retarded way of handling alignments and paladins instead of a system that didn't try to make alignments completely objective in how they were handled and reasoned.
Well I don't, personally, what with slowly falling because I actually do execute the badguy while he's in the stocks, use invisibility to gank cultists, and set ambushes on bad guys in the woods.
But it is a fairly common conception that a paladin does not kill an opponent who cannot fight back, all the same. Even when a situation demands it.
Is this a misconception?
That's good, it took me a second.
I didn't choose the system, but I have to work in it.
Yet one more moron that tries to infect D&D with philosophy.
Good and evil in D&D are absolute. They are cosmic constants. Their definition does not change according to circumstance.
That's why its said that most everyone is neutral, because only the insane, the inhuman, and the alien are capable of thinking into terms of alignment extremes.
>>37989135 puts it shortly.
All of this 'altruism' talk doesn't fit in, anyways. It doesn't matter that the paladin benefits because Good is not zero-sum. Besides which, asides from a few instances, such as certain evil spells for example, alignment is far more about intent than about actions. Even then, there is a lot of wiggle room for individual interpretation.
You don't have to sacrifice pragmatism to be a Lawful Good paladin.
Besides which, the whole premise reeks of alignment-bait, an argument that almost everyone is sick of trying to discuss.
A mature paladin can't accept this, indeed, young paladins at some point recognize that there is no absolute good they can achieve realistically. The more experienced paladins refuse to acknowledge this 'chipping'. They do as they always have, and the pursuit of destroying evil is the purest thing they can achieve.
The monk is more susceptible to your discussion. Where a Paladin possesses skills like smiting evil and detecting alignment, for the purpose of hunting villains, monks possess skills to separate themselves physically and spiritually from other humans.
Being human frames your thinking and decision making. Monks try to divorce themselves from that. Paladins can't accept that.
Look at it this way: The very fact that the paladin is sacrificing the purity of his own soul for the sake of others is the ultimate form of the Good. He is putting the spiritual well-being of others before his own spiritual well-being. He's carrying that weight so the rest of the world doesn't have to. It is from this ultimate altruism that the paladin's divine abilities are derived. A Lawful Good fighter may be a great guy, but at the end of the day you'd expect him to do what is best for his soul before worrying about the souls of others.
>There is a concept familiar to Buddhism. Nirvana can only be achieved by freeing oneself from suffering. In order to free oneself from suffering, they must forsake all desire. But one forsakes all suffering in order to achieve nirvana, which is in itself a desire. Thus, Nirvana cannot be attained save for the divine who can effectively break the rules. This concept is representative of the lesson that it is not about the destination, it is about the journey.
I don't buy this. If you have x number of desires, and get an x+1th desire, to eliminate all your other desires, then that last desire is satisfiable.
If the desire is satisfied, then you've eliminated it.
If you've eliminated it, you are without desire.
It may or may not be a misconception depending on the setting, context, and especially the tone of the game.
It's one of those things you try to avoid, but it's not necessary to do so. You treat your opponents with honor, but you are under no obligation to suicide yourself upon those who have forsaken it.
The bigger issue is the whole 'detect-and-smite' mentality. There is a saying about the how the road to hell is paved, and it is dangerous especially for a paladin to be dismissing entire groups of people as 'badguys', rather than trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
But if you are eliminating your desires to achieve nirvana, you desire nirvana, the only way you can achieve it is ignorance of it, because then you can't desire it.
I mean, probably.
>If I help this guy because it makes me feel all good inside
>Am I selfish because i did it for the feel good?
I rarely run into situations where I do what I believe is right in spit of the fact that i fucking hate the activity itself.
Even more rarely do I meet other people who do the right thing just because it's right, and not because they want to.
Generally people only do ANYTHING because they want to, not because of some blind need to do what is objectively regarded as right.
This is why the concept of "faith" in popular religion is so important. The point isn't to use your brain and figure out if you should follow God's (or Gods) word(s).
You just DO, because you know it to be right, just, and true.
So if you play your paladin as a mindless paragon of holy justice, she's Altruistic.
If she became a paladin because she wanted to, then her fall started before she even took her oaths.
It's something along those lines. I'm not particularly familiar with the concept, what with not being Buddhist and all.
Her, specifically? She was an orphan raised in a convent. She knows first hand the need for others to aid in times of suffering. Even if she lost all of her powers, she'd continue to fight the proper fight. Being a paladin is just a tool, much like her sword. If it is lost, it would not change her objective.
The real root of the problem is whether or not she should be employing another methodology, or if it's just inevitable that humans develop prison guard syndrome, ultimately spiraling out of a need to protect the innocent, and instead become motivated by a need to punish the wicked.
Or, perhaps, if she should abandon pragmatism to become a mindless paragon of holy justice.
>this whole thread
Okay, I can grasp at what's being said a little bit, but I'm not willing to throw the brain cells at it required to come up with a legitimate answer.
Thanks for the pictures of paladins/crusaders, anyway.
It's alright we're speaking in shitty hypothetical consequences of actions to enforce poorly defined alignments.
In the real world, and in D&D as well (because it was created by a person from the real world) the definition of right and wrong is heavily based in a form of utilitarianism. Our moral system is derived most prominently from a "do unto others" point of view, and by extension, so is D&D's.
Now there is some Kantianism style moral rules thrown in here and there, but you have to consider that the wider societal interpretation of "right and "wrong" are based on a collection of the opinions of the masses.
In real life this means we try to treat each other fairly right, based on the fact that none of us particularly LIKE being treated like shit.
In D&D this doesn't apply because the Gods shat out a bunch of rules for what was moral, based entirely on whatever space-drug they were smoking at the time, and then etched those rules into the cosmos.
From a player POV you can see that your character is torn between accepting the dogmatic teachings of a specific order of paladins and hoping that it is enough, or abandoning those teachings and taking a more pragmatic approach.
I think that either way the intent behind both decisions is based pretty solidly in an altruistic mindset. The goal is to do the most good she can do, the dilemma is HOW.
Now it's less about "is she falling?" and more about "should she willingly abandon her methodology if it might give her the tools necessary to do more of what she thinks is right?", which may or may not coincide with the cosmic definition of "right" and may warrant such a fall.
This brings me to my next point, which is that in D&D, you have to consider whether your character is entirely dogmatic in their belief of right and wrong, or if they are more "human" and have varying views on different subjects, much like we are in real life.
Basically, where does your character draw their morals from in the first place? God(s) or elsewhere (general life lessons, probably)
So this is a very solid argument: that a paladin might fall not because the temptation to employ evil methods is too great, but out of sheer pragmatism to do the most good in the sense of a society, rather than the most good for the divine. They might feel the pull of tangible needs, that of the people they serve, are more pressing than some arbitrary divine laws that put people's lives at risk for the chance to redeem immortal souls.
I suppose I need to do some thinking on which is more applicable to her. Thus far, it's been protection of the living, since the dead are no longer played after all.
--Brief technical question. If a paladin of Ilmater falls from LG to LN, but retains their faith, are they still accepted to his afterlife?
>Because of their direct benefit, their actions can no longer be truly altruistic
wat, yes they can. If you and your neighbor's house is on fire, and you throw a bucket of water onto your neighbor's house, but some of the water splashes onto your house and saves your house too, it doesn't make your action any less selfless. There are perks that come with Paladining, but that's not the reason the Paladin is doing it.
You're kind of just describing a slide from Lawful Good to Chaotic Good. Upholding goodness not by virtue of faith or society or tradition, but by what you yourself hold to be true and righteous.
Actual ethical altruism is defined by the benefit of others at the cost to the self, and typically without the expectation of reciprocation.
I am operating under the pretense that 3.5E's definition of Altruism does not differ from ours, but I'll check the book of exalted deeds to see if I can prove it one way or another..
>Such as executing someone who can't fight back, as the law demands.
Executing evildoers is in no way evil. In fact, its part of the Paladin's Code, to PUNISH those who harm or threaten innocents.
The ability to defer to legitimate authority makes a paladin's life so much easier.
Good acts don't have to be the result of altruism; good implies altruism, but one hundred trillion neutral acts will not move a paladin's alignment a micron away from lawful good.
Besides, the paladin is altruistic. He's going to fight to defend the innocent at his own expense. Due compensation is only just and has as much to do with keeping the paladin up and running and doing his job as it does with actually helping the paladin.
>If she became a paladin because she wanted to, then her fall started before she even took her oaths.
What the hell? There's nothing wrong with a paladin who does what he or she does because its satisfying, or because its the rational thing to do, etc.
Trying to shove a caricature of religious beliefs on the paladin tends to lead to Thuntism.
Can't find anything to imply otherwise, though it does make special mention of good characters continuing thankless work regardless.
But the individual is restrained. Should you not show mercy?
Even when they are beyond redemption, if you have a big dark pit to throw them into for the rest of their natural life where they can't hurt anyone else, are you not obligated to respect the sanctity of a life in suffering?
Decidedly neutral, of course. The issue isn't whether or not altruism is evil, it clearly isn't. The issue is that good becomes nearly unachievable, and every iota towards evil that the paladin's alignment shifts is irreversible, making their fall less a matter of "how" but rather "when."
I'd say it depends more on the specific god you worship.
Some gods are full righteous fire and fury, burn the heretics and let them sort it out. Others would say that being a pure altruist yourself is more important than committing evil to save people.
In reality where the afterlife and celestial is uncertain these matters are debatable, but when there's an actual deity who says these things directly it isn't. So as long as a paladin does what their god decrees, they're perfectly fine. Sometimes that means being stupidly benevolent, other times it means burning down countries; so long as the paladin's specific god sees it at lawful and good, it makes no difference.
The specific deity is Ilmater, god of martyrs and mercy, with the brief dogma:
Help all who hurt, no matter who they are. The truly holy take on the suffering of others. If you suffer in his name, Ilmater is there to support you. Stick to your cause if it is right, whatever the pain or peril. There is no shame in a meaningful death. Stand up to all tyrants, and allow no injustice to go unchallenged. Emphasize the spiritual nature of life over the existence of the material body.
That said - does the god in question determine the cosmic nature of good and evil? Is what's good for a Tormite bad for an Ilmatari? Is what's evil for a follower of Cyric evil for a follower of Ilmater?
I may have worded it that way, but what I meant was that if your own belief of what's good is based on something other than faith, it automatically qualifies you fall as a paladin, because you are not serving your god. Whether you are serving yourself, your people, the very concept of "good" (as you know and believe it to be) or what is a variable not yet discussed, but the difference between pragmatic justice and dogmatic justice is whether you are doing it because God Said So.
>Should you not show mercy?
You absolutely should show mercy, usually by killing him cleanly.
Depending on what "legitimate authority" has to say on the matter and what "punishment" you and your god (presumably) think is appropriate, of course. Remember, "be nice to those who harm or threaten innocents" isn't on there, but punish them is.
>are you not obligated to respect the sanctity of a life in suffering?
You are obligated to respect legitimate authority and to punish those who harm or threaten innocents. It is unlikely that there is no authority figure anywhere that has zero opinion on the matter. Killing them is practically always a good idea, though.
Again, this assumes the legit evildoers you see in most fantasy fiction, not random goblin peasants that are SAAAAAD.
>Showing mercy to SAAAAAD goblins.
Come on now we're not being ridiculous here.
Being good for selfish reasons doesn't stop it being good. But when it no longer becomes what they want, if they stop doing it, then they will fall. Not all good deeds have to be a test of character. As to the chipping factor, as long as you repent according to the ideals you follows, you can remain pure.
Might be misreading, but what if the paladin just does good, not in order to keep their powers, but simply to help people?
Like... would this theoretical paladin still be in danger if they never had the thought that they "needed" to be good in order to keep their powers?
>it automatically qualifies you fall as a paladin, because you are not serving your god.
You don't fall for not serving your god, tho. That is the case in no edition, regardless of whether paladins have to have a god in that edition or not.
Faith is purely an optional part of being a paladin.
A paladin is typically very aware of whence their power comes from. I don't think such a situation is possible, unless we consider variant paladins perhaps - but we're not for the sake of this argument.
I'm sick of the "lawful nice" shit going on with paladins for years.
It's simple. Some people are evil, which is they inflict suffering onto others for personal gain and pleasure.
The rules of mercy and "being human" and all that liberal shit do not apply here. Paladin enters town, seeks the guy out, wrecks his face, cuts off his legs and then sits there, watching him bleed out. Villagers are saved, anyone who thought they can dick around are scared shitless. That's how Good works.
The whole concept of "be a nice pussy, because using methods of evil people will make you evil" is Superman comics level of bullshit and it makes me sick every time someone pulls that.
Evil comes up with most efficient ways to inflict harm on others, without being restricted by morality, mercy or whatever else. Anyone who claims that Good can retaliate without using those methods is simply an idiot. Yeah, you can even go with "no killing" levels of bullshit, and work out enough to knock out a low-life thief with your bare hands. But the next guy you meet will be a bandit who also worked out and he will have no problem with cutting your head off with an axe. The same concept applies to higher levels.
tl;dr: Moral code of Good can not protect Evil
Does anyone else never get tired of /tg/'s awful alignment and paladin morality discussions? There's never a single thing posted in them that hasn't been said before, but I always read and enjoy them.
Succubus threads are real hit-or-miss though
We exist to fight the battle, not to win it.
I generally read through them, gives me a lot of good tropes and inspiration for characters - why I come to /tg/ in general, actually.
Bit of an RP perfectionist though, so I take it personally when I feel like a character isn't going in the direction I intended. It's why I like paladins, conceptually, but rarely play them.
I plan to have this discussion again with the actual authority responsible for her alignment - i.e. dms - some time tomorrow. This is just a bit of a dry run for me.
The only way that this leads to a paladin falling from grace is if acts out justice systematically, in a sort of apathetic, schedule like way, like if justice were a desk job at the DMV. If a paladin doesn't do what he does for the sake of empathy and the will to protect the weak, and make the world a better place, he is as good as fallen.
A paladin, in a way must resent his power and his duty, because a paladin should, in the end, feel remorse for killing the most wicked of villains, as long as the villain is not an absolute evil. (demons, devils, etc)
The evil of men is born of their humanity, and their own tragic past. In most cases a villain is as much a victim as the people he terrorizes.
A paladin should only kill if it is absolutely necessary, such as in the heat of battle, where if he does not kill, the innocent may die, or if some one is truly without a chance of redemption.
And if a paladin does kill, a paladin should have a moment of falling apart at the seems, and repenting for the act he knew he must commit. Beg for forgiveness and resent the duty he knows he must carry out.
A paladin carries on his soul the weight of all those (non absolutely evil) creatures he has killed all his life. And as long as he does this, as long as he remains repentant, and reluctant of killing anything that may yet be redeemed a paladin will not fall.
There is no personal gain. A paladin systematically depraves himself, and bloodies his hands, becoming a murderer, and in turn what he hates most. There is nothing more just, more selfless than that level of sacrifice.
tl;dr you're paladin isn't a true paladin if he does not feel remorse and repentance for any and all evils he does.
>The evil of men is born of their humanity, and their own tragic past. In most cases a villain is as much a victim as the people he terrorizes.
This way of thinking is one of the major problems of the world and the reason why we can't have nice things.
have you considered that that's maybe just a manifestation of regular entropy? your alignment tanking something another part of you would otherwise do.
anyhow what prevents you from just getting back up? dumbass.
No one said being a paladin was fun.
This is far from my real-life morality, it's just that I am able to put myself in a paladin's greaves.
I am not denying that people can be born shit, or become shit specifically BECAUSE they went through no hardship. Nor am I denying the existence of sociopaths.
I am merely stating that most humanoid BBEG's didn't become the villain for shits and giggles. Or if they did he isn't an interesting villain. A good villain is a relatable villain.
OP, the problem with your assertion is that you're assuming the paladin benefiting from the paladin's heroic altruism will effect it.
Luckily for your hero, the COSMIC ORDER OF GOOD AND EVIL rates acts. Good acts are good, and Evil acts are evil.
Good acts increase your Good rating. Your hero will continue to become more and more heroic and not less and less Goodly over time.
Its pretty silly to think a paladin need feel remorse for killing evildoers. If that's part of his personality, sure. But doing Lawful Good means (executing murderers etc.) for Lawful Good means (upholding justice, respecting legitimate authority, punishing those who harm innocents) can certainly give a paladin a reaffirmation that, once again, the forces of Law and Good have put away another threat to the innocent.
>A good villain is a relatable villain.
Strictly a matter of opinion. IS types are perfectly fine and realistic.
Remember, he's saying what good chars CAN do, not what they MUST do. The DM should err on the side of avoiding good = dumb.
Chaotic Good is usually, but not always, the social retard alignment.
Instead of believing in law and goodness out of dogma, just believe in law and goodness from the perspective of clear headed rationality, knowing that laws are the best way to protect the individual rights of the weak against the strong.
You seem not to take into account that 'justice' just one big blurred line.
This retired assassin, who has killed the your king retires, falls in love, has a child. You hunt him down, and make him pay for his crimes.
You slay him.
You have killed a loving husband, and left a child without a father, who will most likely grow up to become evil itself, maybe even kill you.
Have you just committed a good act? Was exacting 'justice' really the right thing to do?
I feel a paladin should act more on the premise of good, rather than law. Because a paladin is there to defend the innocent. Sometimes doing what is lawful is not beneficial to anyone, let alone is it the 'good' thing to do.
I've played a campaign before where our party had two Paladins. They agreed on virtually everything (even consigning that the other's Patron "wasn't too bad".
One of them, however, was extremely merciless. You're a murderer? Executed. You're a thief? Chopped off your hand. Bandits? Slain to the last man.
He saw himself as the pinacle of good, and if he dared to attack him, you must be evil.
The other Paladin on the other hand, tried to practice mercy at every opportunity. Murderer? Thief? Bandit? Captured and turned in the the authorites. He would sit and talk with the criminal/captured whatever, and make an attempt at peacefully resolving situations.
Now, the two both RP'd incredibly, and my descriptions don't really give them justice. The point is that ~everything~, Paladins included, will have extremists. Doing good is open to their individual interpretation of what must be done.
There's no doubt that a paladin of Hoar would handle a situation far differently than a paladin of Ilmater.
The question is, do either of them survive the conflict of good and evil over a long enough timespan? Or do they inevitably fall?
>You seem not to take into account that 'justice' just one big blurred line.
Not if you have gods, legitimate authority, and codes.
There's no need to give a shit about the one in a trillion assassin with a heart of gold. Thankfully, the Paladin's Code does not ask that we spare those who, despite having gotten away with and profited from their lifetime of evil deeds, now "totally feel sorry" about it.
>Have you just committed a good act? Was exacting 'justice' really the right thing to do?
Unquestionably. A vile murderer has paid, and his innocent victims are avenged.
Of course, this is all contingent on what one's Gods' stance is on whether justice is good or bad, and what the local legitimate authority thinks as well.
If you live in a nightmarish hippy land where murder is okay so long as they "feel really bad, honest," move elsewhere.
>I feel a paladin should act more on the premise of good, rather than law. Because a paladin is there to defend the innocent.
Hence "punish those who harm or threaten innocents" not "punish those who harm the law." But good laws are there to protect freedom and to protect the innocent, and the most essential part of defending innocents is letting evil people know that they cannot murder, rape, and torture and get away with it.
The "respect legitimate authority" there is not just because of adherence to the law, but that the local authorities, not just the paladin, also owe it to the public to ensure justice reigns.
It is not the result that matters but the action. If you find a wrongdoer you will try to teach them about the nature of good. If they do not wish to be good AND wish to do others harm, you have to kill them, preferably in the most honorable way possible.
Killing is not an evil action unless performed without reason or against the innocent. Does your paladin also believe that pulling out the weeds that kill the plants is an evil action? Especially in DnD, killing is essentially sending the soul where it was supposed to go, thus "freeing" the person.
Also, paladins are good first and lawful second, but frankly, i always imagined paladins as neutral good. Like, if a chaotic way is the only way of doing good, would you not do it?
Last but not least, taking pleasure to doing good is not evil. Taking pleasure alone is not evil, unless it is causing someone else to suffer. You are not some self-punishing ascetic Christian monk.
Are people who do good just for the pleasure of doing it evil? No. The good action was still done and the goal of good achieved, so why not get something in return that does not harm anyone?
>Sometimes doing what is lawful is not beneficial to anyone, let alone is it the 'good' thing to do.
Gygax addresses that. "Lawful Neutrality countenances malign laws. Lawful Good does not." If the Law is wrong, then a Lawful Good character will not allow it to stand.
Why would they inevitably fall? A paladin has a wealth of allies (including local figures of law, agents of his god, celestials, party members, and his community) to discuss any problem that may arise.
>Also, paladins are good first and lawful second, but frankly, i always imagined paladins as neutral good. Like, if a chaotic way is the only way of doing good, would you not do it?
According to Gygax's rambles, the idea was initially that Law and Chaos are objective forces, and Good and Evil are subjective forces. Unless you read stuff like Elric of Melnibone and Three Hearts and Three Lions, the Law vs Chaos stuff will not seem anywhere as compelling, most likely. So they're on the side of Law and against Chaos, but to the extent that they want good and the human(ish) interest to prevail.
Also, a distinction in Gygax's rambles was that Lawful Good isn't maximum, perfect goodness and benevolence, that's Neutral Good. Lawful Good characters are "allowed" to be less than perfect, and LG types merely had to do what was seemingly in the interests of the greater good. They were allowed to do totally fucking insane things in the name of the greater good, like FF villains and 40k protagonists, and this was because your alignment can't change safely back then.
Its more "do your best" than "be perfect at all times and offend no one."
Gygaxian LG would probably suggest that the assassin must still answer for his crimes. He's done evil, and the victims of his evil demand and deserve justice.
Would you show mercy here? If I were the paladin in question, I definitely would. By the time I got to that guy he might not even be evil anymore, assuming he even was to begin with (and not just a selfish neutral doing evil acts for money). But I would be wrong according to Gygax black and white morality, and might be punished for it now or down the road.
Pic related, it's the
D&Dpolice comin at me like I give a fuck
>But I would be wrong according to Gygax black and white morality, and might be punished for it now or down the road.
See, here the problem is you're assuming Gygax's morality is black and white. He himself pointed out good is subjective.
The point of Gygax's rants on paladin behavior was that you should err on the side of seeing it from the paladin's POV. Wanna serve justice to the forces of evil? Fine.
But nothing implies they CAN'T be postmodern progressive to them and rehabilitate the tender hurt feelings of the forces of evil. Afterall, he was the first to print that drow and orcs can be redeemed.
Perhaps meant divine and not material, Paladins as I understand only keep necessary equipment to do their work on behalf of the church, answering to priests or clerics who guide them through the challenges you presented. Simply because in a campaign setting your character is getting bored of adventuring doesn't mean they must turn evil. Abandoning the class is an option and then gearing as a plain fighter, or even retiring to do work as a priest. Evil is hardly the only option and giving their connection with a God, it seems unlikely they would be so easily turned away from their beliefs.
>Not if you have gods, legitimate authority, and codes.
A god does not decide what is 'good'. He embodies it. That's like saying the god of magic decides what is and isn't magic.(that would be a very absurd and interesting premise to build a campaign around)
>Of course, this is all contingent on what one's Gods' stance is on whether justice is good or bad, and what the local legitimate authority thinks as well.
If this were true you might as well create a grimdark paladin, worshiping a chaotic evil god, claiming to be lawful good because he adheres by what his chose god deems to be 'good'.
If a paladin's job was to punish the unjust they would have to go around punishing everyone. There are none without sin.
Furthermore, killing the assassin would just cause more evil. Not only is killing in and of itself an evil act, but he might as well have just created a new would-be assassin in the child of the dead assassin. Judging by that should he also kill the child, just in case? Should innocent evil alligned characters be smitten just in case? How about evil alligned babies? What about them?
Ethics is horribly blurry, and in my opinion there is no such thing as good or evil, though I still am able to discuss it.
Furthermore, justice, imo, is not a concept that exists. Because the death of someone unjust might cause great damage to the innocent. Then it is not justice, but an act of evil. I do not believe revenge can be good. The only circumstance under which killing a person is a good deed is if that person would commit evil deeds again. A prevention, not a punishment.
Aforementioned inability to recoup losses of good points.
Not available in my situation, and it also doesn't fit the character very well.
Presumably a paladin can become a noncombatant. There's no real need to multiclass. Given their class skills, they would make an excellent healer and community leader post-adventuring.
(not trying to pick apart your post piece by piece, but these are good points and I want to address them in turn)
>A god does not decide what is 'good'. He embodies it.
Didn't say otherwise. We already know what the Paladin's Code demands -- respect legitimate authority (gods, your order and the local law), punish those who harm and threaten innocents, and no provision is given for "tenderly forgive evil savages if they say they're sorry." Redemption is not the specialty of the paladin. There is an entire rest of the party there.
> worshiping a chaotic evil god, claiming to be lawful good because he adheres by what his chose god deems to be 'good'.
uh? no? Look at the Paladin's Code of Conduct. Seriously, look at it. We're talking about paladins. The god is simply an example of a legitimate authority, but a legitimate authority he is.
>If a paladin's job was to punish the unjust they would have to go around punishing everyone.
There are none without sin.
Good thing we're talking about paladins punishing those who harm and threaten innocents, not people guilty of a metaphysical concept that doesn't apply per se to D&D.
The paladin is not here to enforce parking tickets.
The paladin is not here to punish harsh language.
He is here to punish those who harm or threaten innocents, and to respect legitimate authority.
>killing the assassin would just cause more evil. Not only is killing in and of itself an evil act,
1. Untrue. The only person responsible for an evildoer's acts is the evildoer.
2. Killing is not remotely intrinsically evil. The paladin is there to punish those who harm and threaten innocents. Depending on the setting, that probably means killing.
Call in a social worker.
>innocent evil aligned characters
The heck are we talking about? Nothing in the paladin's code says "kill evil babies" or "spare evil if they FEEL REALLY BAD and are retired." It just says punish those who harm or threaten innocents.
There are no good or evil points. Just don't commit evil acts. Its not hard. Even if you have an existential crisis, you're still probably lawful good.
There have been numerical good and evil systems (1e Dragonlance, 3.0 Dragon Magazine, etc.). They are invariably easier to follow.
If a situation seems too bizarre and confusing for you to handle, ask your God or your wizard. The paladin need not be the brains of the operation.
Well, 4e has kicking thunder paladins. You could also adopt 3.x's really wicked awesome arcane paladins to permit the throwing of lightning and such. I believe FR has some form of lightning god paladin, I'm sure.
This is all really simple. Are you a Good person, actively working towards Good for Good reasons and not going out of your way to do Evil with a capital E? Are you Lawful (not strictly following the law, but lawfully adhering to your Good guy morals) and not simply using Good as a justification to do awful shit? You aren't falling in 3.5e unless the DM just really wants you to. There isn't really any sort of cosmic happy positive karma bioware-esque good guy points that are going to decay and suck the ability to do Good out of your veins. Legitimately enjoying and benefiting from the Good that you do is not enough to make you fall any more than a doctor who enjoys healing people is suddenly evil because he gets paid to do it.
Now if you get enjoyment from the act of murder and your only real motivation for being a Paladin is because Paladins are allowed to murder Evil people, your day is coming and quick.
That reminds me that a paladin has to willingly commit an evil act to fall. So no amount of chicanery, duress, railroads, babypults, etc. can harm the paladin's class features.
Of course, he will be probably sad and/or furious.
There's a certain name for this kind of fallacy. Essentially it's where you seek to help others and in gaining satisfaction from it you are actually only seeking to please yourself. The counter point to this is DON'T BE FUCKING RETARDED, you're a good person! If there were no reward for good deeds would you still do good? If yes, congratulations you're good. If no, then you are actually morally bankrupt and will fall. It's no where near as complicated as you made it out to be and certainly didn't need two whole fucking posts. Paladins should leave the thinking to us clerics. The gods aren't COMPELLED to help you, they CHOOSE to because you deserve it in their eyes, it's a gift for your service they don't have to give you shit. Just shut up and smite some evil, I've got so many people with legitimate concerns to council it's not even funny. Go pray until I tell you to stop.
The purity of a paladin's soul isn't the paladin's to give away. Goodness is not a commodity that can be sacrificed like a magic item.
The paladin's code does demand that you accept surrenders and show mercy to those you've captured. Obviously, you should work to redeem them and not just set them free to do more evil, but you're not allowed to kill someone who's surrendered.
Doing "good" that has no end result at all is simple-minded and wasteful. If you devote your entire life to deeds that ultimately change absolutely nothing but still counted as "good" then you've wasted your life. Helping old ladies across the street all day does not a Paladin make.
On the other hand doing deeds that are good and you feel will objectively benefit your nation/people/race/kingdom etc... is what you should be striving for. Good deeds for future generations and those living without thinking of yourself.
I remember a thread where some guy's pally raped a captive tiefling sorceress and claimed it was a good thing to do. People like that genuinely scare me. I judge people based on that sort of thing, the alignment system is retarded but it does sometimes offer insight into other people.
>The paladin's code does demand that you accept surrenders and show mercy to those you've captured.
Nah. All it asks is that you PUNISH those who harm or threaten innocents. Nothing implies you care what alignment they are, or if they've been "redeemed." Justice is about being fair, impartial, and protecting the innocent, not sparing the guilty at the expense of the innocent.
Also, keep in mind this is in the context of executing surrendered evildoers, and why I keep bringing up the god and/or local authorities -- they're going to have their own opinion on what to do with the prisoners. Hence why you should talk with your god and the authorities as to what the SOP should be for high grade evil prisoners.
>That said - does the god in question determine the cosmic nature of good and evil?
Yes. By very definition.
Even if they're a lesser deity playing a minor role in some elder god's plan, they are the thing that they are. Fire and brimstone burn the heretic lawful good god is still lawful good, by simple virtue of the fact that that's what they are. Therefore doing what they bid is lawful good to the paladin at hand.
Obviously the neutral and chaotic gods are less clear since they could manipulate people, but for paladins everything is clear cut. Do what your deity says to do and you're crystal.
There's a huge campaign journal about a paladin playing through this scenario, exactly.
Here's the story:
Here's the discussion the characters have about the problem:
"Consider," the Demoness said. "You are a deity with a number of portfolios. You represent, on one hand, Love, Compassion, Mercy and Forgiveness. You are absolutely Good. On the other hand, you signify Justice, Order, Retribution and absolute Law. These two poles are not necessarily identical in their needs."
"The point I’m trying to make," she continued, "is that the current crisis is a reflection of that dichotomy. A demoness approaches Oronthon’s champion, earnestly asking for redemption. Good Oronthon says ‘sure, no problem,’ whereas Lawful Oronthon says ‘no chance. Your punishment was just.’ Of course, Oronthon understands this paradox, and that some kind of dialectic has to be found in order to transcend it. If he acts, one way or the other, he favours Law over Good or vice versa. Two absolute truths have come into conflict with one another, and both have to be satisfied."
"Eadric [the Paladin] is like most celestials. They have a simplistic view of reality which is couched in terms of black and white. It is their faith which sustains them, and an absolute trust in Oronthon’s perfection. As Mostin says, only those in the upper tiers of the celestial hierarchy really understand Oronthon’s will – that the deity is constantly fraught with moral and ethical dilemmas which he has to resolve. Yet they still trust his judgement, and do not doubt him."
"And you doubted?" Mostin asked.
"I understood, I doubted, and I fell," the demoness replied. "The same would happen to Eadric."
That's page 2 of the 200 page thread. And it goes on too, the paladin's friends assuming he is stronger than that, counter-arguments, further explanations, etc.
Paladins aren't obligated to gods. They might worship them the same as anyone else, but paladins aren't clerics and their powers come from the principles of goodness itself, not from any god. So what a given god thinks would be completely irrelevant.
And the "justice" you refer to is lawful neutral. It's not sparing guilty at the expense of innocent if the guilty party is no longer a threat.
We need an 80's cop movie style writefaggotry of this magnificent pair, STAT.
One is a merciful old man two weeks from retirement.
Another is a no-nonsense, stern and cynical badass that accepts no compromise.
Together, they make evil go away. One way, or the other.
>the guilty party is no longer a threat.
You're not thinking of the bigger picture here. People and society need to see there is a consequence to their actions and that their guardians punish evil done against them. Sparing a murderer might look nice on paper since he might never harm again but what kind of affects on future criminals and those tempted to do evil will that have ?
For the second time, I am pointing out the god is a legitimate authority and thus relevant to the paladin's code for that reason. They are also as wise as druids and as intelligent as wizards.
>So what a given god thinks would be completely irrelevant
See: the Code. The Paladin's Code of Conduct is what he has to follow. When in doubt, converse with local government, the gods, angels, celestials, the cleric, the wizard, and so forth.
>And the "justice" you refer to is lawful neutral. It's not sparing guilty at the expense of innocent if the guilty party is no longer a threat.
The paladin's code is lawful good, and lawful good specifically references fighting evil WITHOUT MERCY.
You may consider it not to be a good thing that murdering innocents invites punishment, even if the victim "feels really bad." When in doubt, haul him off in chains to the local authorities, if they have ways to deal with tough customer prisoners.
Punishing those who harm or threaten innocents does not require killing them (depends on the god, the paladin, the local law, etc.) but it absolutely does not require giving a damn whether the victim claims a change of heart.
No. She did not. She was an unarmed evil aligned prisoner which he thought made it okay. His definition of good is raping somebody who did something bad forno other reason than to please himself. Inb4 not as bad as death. No shit it's not as bad but the point of killing a bad person is to stop them from doing more bad tjings, raping her was senseless and awfully awfully lewd.
>altruism means if it feels good it's not a good act
My next character will be a paladin who was systematically sexually abused as a child by a knight and now can only get off by doing Good and Lawful deeds.
Nobody is altruistic.
Any single thing you do can be backtraced to you taking some sort of pleasure. Even if you sacrifice yourself for the good of others.
Everyone is an egoist.
And since many people consider altruism=good and egoism=bad, you can safely say everyone is evil.
I won't deny that the paladin's code is inconsistently written, but mercy is a vital pole of goodness. The Book of Exalted Deeds makes that very clear.
But if you're right about paladins, I hardly think much of them as role models for goodness, especially with all this deference to authority crap. Neutral good is the way to go.
>I won't deny that the paladin's code is inconsistently written
Its consistent with the history of the class, with an addition of protecting innocents.
>mercy is a vital pole of goodness
Its an optional pole for lawful good types, since primary source (PHB) trumps secondary, just like its always been.
Let the fancy exalted wizards deal with nicely disabling enemies. They get to be responsible for making sure they are kept under control too.
Anything related to suicide happens just before it, because we can agree that after you off yourself, nothing happens or matters, for you.
So it's a delight of proving your point, leaving a mark, helping others (by protesting) and so on.
In case of depression suicide it's a pleasure of letting it go and knowing that there will be no more pain in the future. Because there won't be anything in the future.
Does that explain it?
Paladins are not even distantly required to be authority figures in their party, nor the decision makers.
Paladins are not neutral good outsiders, and plenty of people will find the notion of dealing justice to the guilty to be less than absolutely good.
Showing mercy is showing weakness.
Evil practically revolves around exploiting weakness for their own personal gain.
Essentially, if law shows weakness by showing mercy, it's an invitation for anyone who is hesitant to do evil.
The way the law is set up, is so that if you will not be civilized because its the right thing to do, its so that you will do so at least because if you fear punishment.
The whole "forgive everybody crap" ignores that this demolishes the deterrent factor, and advertises that you can do whatever evil deeds you need to do, and then when justice catches up with you, you can wiggle out of it.
Not to mention there is a difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism. Its entirely possible to think that pure altruism is possible while still thinking its retarded.
C.S. Lewis talks about this in Mere Christianity, saying that because it feels GOOD to do morally right things, the Kantian idea that you have to do good without any thought to yourself or your happiness is silly. Because the more someone is moral the more they tend to ENJOY being moral, so by that logic the more good you become the harder it would be to be good [see OP's example].
In other words, morality lies in the delightfully childish notion that certain things [Truth, beauty, peace, love] make us happy and it makes us happier still to share them.
This morality that attempts to separate what is good from what is right is where people go wrong. As though what is ordered and required could possibly be entirely separate from what makes us happy. The brass tacks of all this is that hedonism alone is good and sufficient reason to be moral and any sufficiently advanced villain is indistinguishable from a hero. Someone once said if you were a Lawful Evil overlord and you wanted nothing more than your own ambition and pleasure, you'd want your kingdom to be peaceful and happy and content with sufficient liberty just so everyone would keep their noses out of your affairs. And didn't Jesus speak of a judge who neither loved God nor feared justice, yet helped someone just to get them out of his hair?
The true progression of a paladin is you do good, it feels good, you keep doing good, it keeps feeling good, and you gradually become more and more and more good until you've become one with Goodness. The ultimate form of Goodness isn't self-sacrifice, its Joy.
Goodness is happiness sharing itself.
The burden of proof is on you, libfag.
I'm pretty sure if someone jumps you in a dark alley, you will give them everything and then ponder what else could you do for them, because they are obviously misunderstood, confused and were raised up in a horrible environment.
People like you are sicken me, because this kind of softness is one of the reasons why the crime rates are so high.
How hard it is to understand that if you don't punish evil, it will fucking do what it wants?
Happily, this is why objective morality exists in D&D.
You're the one who doesn't seem to understand that there's a spectrum of criminal penalties between "nothing" and "death."
Also, you were the one who made the positive claim (showing mercy is an invitation to do evil), so the burden of proof is on you.
>Any single thing you do can be backtraced to you taking some sort of pleasure.
>I can come up with a horribly convoluted chain of logic dictating that selfless acts are selfless by using baseless speculation and mental gymnastics to 'prove' that your good deeds are in fact selfish
This is what cynical dipshits actually believe.
Nobody said anything about binary system of punishment.
Mercy =/= not killing
Sometimes cutting someone's head off right away is actually pretty merciful, all things considering.
All I'm saying is that punishment must be severe. And mercy as a concept is either no punishment or milder punishment than deserved.
I would say that a punishment should only be as severe as what's necessary to make the evil go away. Generally, forcing people to work to undo their own evil (easier when resurrection is a thing) is a good start.
Well shit why didn't anyone say so?
Thread's over guys, go home.
Look, it's pretty simple.
Imagine a creature who, despite having the mental capacities and the full knowledge of an adult human, existed only for a few instants, and during this time had to do one action.
In D&D, this action, with the reasoning behind it, would fall under Good or Evil, and Lawful or Chaotic. So, this creature, let's call it a Blink, would be Lawful Good, Lawful Evil, Chaotic Good or Chaotic Evil, during its brief existence.
If the Blink existed long enough for a second action, it could do something that is radicaly different from the first action. And so, a Blink choosing to do something Good the first time and something Evil the second would be Neutral, provided that the two actions were equivalent. If the Evil act it did outweighted the Good one, it would be Evil. If it was the Good act that outweighted the Evil one, it would still be Good.
Now, take it to the scale of an entire human life. An human will do some Good actions and some Evil actions (note: the reasoning behind the action also count in determining if it's Good or Evil). If they do roughly as much Good as Evil, they're Neutral. If they do way more Good than Evil, they're Good.
A Paladin will not fall because they do one minor bad thing. A Paladin will fall if they do something horrible enough that it's equivalent to all the good they did before.
There is no alignment entropy, and Good isn't a fixed number that can only decrease. There is redemption for your acts, and you can become Good.
Alignments in D&D are the different pans of a balance scale, and each acts add a weight in one of them, and the equilibrium is True Neutral.
Well then you're shit outta luck, we don't tolerate no make-believe nerd shit here.
Let's be honnest, people only do things because they think it's better than the alternatives. Someone who do good is someone who prefers doing it than not doing it. It doesn't make it less good.
You're not gonna like how it ends though.
How rough, I wonder, should a paladin be in charming a captive devilish magic girl? The simple answer seems to be super rough, but paladins are usually supposed to be nice guys.
>Punish evil without mercy
Mercy is a big part of the Good alignment, dude. It's more "punish evil but be merciful, without being stupid about either" aka "do what you have to do to stop evil, but not more"
Anyway. I prefer 5e's alignments and Paladin.
Yup. Remember, primary source (PHB) trumps secondary (BoED).
>Mercy is a big part of the Good alignment, dude.
Mercy for the innocent. For guilty evil beings? Well, you owe them quick deaths, anyway.
The Paladin's Code certainly may require you to punish redeemed people for their crimes, and honestly its not wrong -- remember, paladins are about justice and protecting that which is innocent in the world, not about patting rapists, torturers, murderers, and dictators on the back and saying "There there sweetheart, you're all better now. It was just a bad dream."
>Anyway. I prefer 5e's alignments and Paladin.
Same. "Be a good person, in the sense society expects" feels more natural.
>Mercy for the innocent
You don't have to be merciful for the innocent. Mercy is not punishing, or not punishing as harshly, someone that you could.
>The Paladin's Code certainly may require you to punish redeemed people for their crimes, and honestly its not wrong -- remember, paladins are about justice and protecting that which is innocent in the world, not about patting rapists, torturers, murderers, and dictators on the back and saying "There there sweetheart, you're all better now. It was just a bad dream."
On this, we agree.
>"Be a good person, in the sense society expects" feels more natural.
Yeah. Unless people start saying stuff like "but muh society expect me to kill people who look at me funny, so I'm lawful good!"
No, you have to do good within the rules of society.
No, you just make your desire to eliminate all desires but the "desire to eliminate all desires but this one". And then that last desire is eliminated due to satisfaction.
If you need motivation or something to do that, I guess you could buy into the "nirvana is impossible" bullshit itself, but still recognize that eliminating desires will make you overall happier.
Doesn't work like that.
Especially not for Ilmater, the most Jesus-esque of all FR gods.
A Paladin can have doubts. A paladin can feel miserable, depressed. A paladin can have bad days. A paladin can look at his monumental, hopeless task and sigh, feeling "whats the point?"
The concept of entropic evil doesn't take into account Growth of Good.
For every tiny fraction of an evil alignment point you get, you're gaining good alignment points. Why? Because you're doing good things. That doesn't go away just because you're expected to do good things.
I once played a very philosophical, introspective paladin who wrestled with similar questions, and how to reconcile his divine mandate with temporal justice and conventional morals, etc.
At the end of the day, don't over think it. Just do the right thing, and trust that's enough.
You aren't going to fall because you doubt. And again, for every "evil" tick you get, you're getting 5 "good" ticks. And it's a sliding scale. So no, you aren't going to die by degree's.
At least you guys are actually paladins.
A friend of mine tried to run a paladin academy, and everyone was supposed to learn to be paladins, but they acted more like warlocks, mages, and rogues.. using magic to solve their issues, stealing things, and
generally being sluts too, he was letting them get skill of the paladin class each "year", Last I heard they stopped the quest in year 3 when they got holy weapons and fought a few demons.